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Umaru Dikko dies at 78

By The Rainbow
Umaru Dikko dies at 78
Umaru Dikko dies at 78

Former Minister of Transportation, Umaru Dikko
Former Minister of Transportation in the Second Republic, Umaru Dikko, has died at 78.

Dikko, 78, who was one of the prominent member of the federal cabinet under the presidency of Alhaji Shehu Shagri (1979 – 1983) died early Tuesday in a London hospital, his son Dr. Bello Dikko confirmed on Tuesday.

According to sources, Dikko has been sick for “quite some time” and suffered three strokes in a row.

Dikko  (born 1936, Wamba) was a close confidant to President  Shehu Shagari . He was also the Nigerian  minister  for  Transportation  from 1979-1983. He was known to be non-chalant about complaints by the people about the maladministration of the government he was serving under. He as fending off such complaints and was quoted as saying one time that Nigerians were yet to eat out of the dustbin.

He predicted that the then ruling National party of Nigeria (NPN) was going to have 'moonslide' victory in the 1983 elections, which came to pass as the party coasted home to victory in the election which ranks as one of the most shamelessly rigged in the history of Nigeria.

Dikko started playing a role in the nation's governance in 1967, when he was appointed as a  commissioner  in the then  North Central State of Nigeria  (now  Kaduna State ). He was also  secretary of a  committee  set up by  General   Hassan Katsina  to unite the  Northerners  after a  coup  in 1966. [1]  In 1979, he was made Shagari's  campaign manager  for the successful  presidential campaign  of the  National Party of Nigeria . During the nation's  Second Republic , he played prominent roles as transport minister and head of the presidential task force on rice.

A military coup on December 31, 1983 overthrew the government of Shagari. Dikko fled into exile in  London  as well as a few other ministers and party officials of the  National Party of Nigeria . The new military regime accused him of large-scale corruption while in office, in particular of embezzling millions of dollars from the nation's oil revenues.

On July 5, 1984, he was found  drugged  in a  crate  at  Stansted Airport  that was being claimed as  Diplomatic Baggage , an apparent victim of a government sanctioned  kidnapping . The crate's destination was  Lagos .